The Ukrainians have long and persistently want in Europe — for the sake of this country, it’s like, ready to change. But if in some matters something from scratch, but it happens that some themes Ukrainians remain “dense”. One of them is in permanent “black list” — we are talking about the market of sex services.
Despite some spread in society beliefs, the existing semi-legal status of the domestic sex industry does not reduce the number of sex workers. However, forces them to work in the shadows and be one of the most socially disadvantaged groups in the country. Moreover, it is not only about the policy of the state towards this category of citizens or laws, governing the existence of such kind of business like prostitution, but also about the stigma of this phenomenon by society.
“Sex workers may experience such human rights violations, violence, rape, trafficking, denial of access to medical services”, — emphasizes a press-the Secretary of Amnesty International, Maria Gurieva. According to her, illegal actions against sex workers do not only customers, but also representatives of law enforcement agencies. Not surprisingly, this gives them a sense of impunity. Moreover, using the power, corrupt law enforcement officers themselves are not averse to earn in the sex industry, many workers in this field a “roof” for a fee.
“We have not a single sex worker is not protected, in which case, they don’t even go to the police because they are afraid to say they’re sex workers,” — said the leader of the movement for the rights of sex workers, a lawyer-Ukrainian League “Legalayf” Yulia Dorokhova.
Decriminalization as a step to legalization
On the one hand, prostitution in Ukraine is not a criminal offense — for the exercise it provides for administrative penalty, a fine. According to article 181-1 of the Code of Ukraine about administrative violations, prostitution entails “the prevention or penalty imposing from five to ten free minima of incomes of citizens” (85-170 UAH), and if during the year on the same case get caught again, the amount of the fine will be “from eight to fifteen non-taxable minimum incomes of citizens” (136-255 hryvnia).
On the other hand, Amnesty International documented many cases of unjustified arrests and detentions of sex workers… in order to solve this problem, only two components — the decriminalization and legalization of sex work. Decriminalization is the abolition of laws that make sex work into something forbidden. Legalization is already creating laws and regulations that would regulate work in the sex industry (and provide adequate security and protection of health workers and consumers of the sex industry).
According to human rights activists, today in Ukraine is more important decriminalization. At least, it was worth it to start. Maria Gurieva explains that already it will create the conditions in which sex workers can receive medical services, to contact the police if they were victims of violence as well as to be sure that their families will not be judged for what they live “at the expense” of sex work.
“We are not opposed to legalization per se, however, in our opinion, decriminalization is the most important step. Indeed, in the case of legalization is still a risk that those sex workers who continue to work outside the legal system, will experience a violation, referred to earlier,” she said. Unfortunately, the Ukrainian political elites are not yet ready to neither legalization nor decriminalization of the sex industry. Moreover, artificially turning a blind eye to the alleged non-existent in Ukraine, the phenomenon of sex for money, those in power are trying to create the impression that we, as in the USSR, no sex was not.
To change this situation, sex workers decided to remind of itself, together with human rights defenders, journalists, and supported by a considerable number of “spectators” walked on Friday, 3 March, a peaceful March on the government quarter in the capital — from the Verkhovna Rada to the Cabinet of Ministers and from there to the presidential administration.
Away the stereotypes
Around 11 in the morning under the building of the Parliament quickly tightened journalists. It was here, on the Plaza of the Constitution will be the first in the history of Ukraine March for sex workers. The perpetrators of media hype of late, but have already caught up the “idlers” and those who wanted to Express their attitude to the issue of legalization of the sex industry in the country.
“Ukraine for family values”, “Students against prostitution” — with these, frankly, insincere (judging by the faces of the people holding them) the posters are worth a dozen young people. Alongside them some representatives of the green Party, which, on the contrary, advocate the legalization of sex work. At a little distance — a few feminists who claim that they are against the legalization of prostitution and “the criminalization of clients”, because “buy living people for sex — not!”.
Against this background, the attention of the UNIAN was attracted to a man with interesting this attribute in his hand was… a rake. “Why do you rake?” — “There must be some intrigue. We in Parliament have people with pitchforks, but the rake is not enough. In General, the rake is a symbol of our state system that loves to go on the rake. Going to do something that they more than a rake did not come,” he explains.
Later it turns out that “a man with a rake” — Paul Rock — co-organizer of the March, Director, policy and partnership Alliance for citizen health. Paul came to the March one of the first. On the question, and where, in fact, everything, — answers that some participants “are going in the subways, because I think that may be some danger, that’s it.” However, their appearance was disappointing “onlookers” probably waiting to see “moths” causing a mini and tights-et.
The demonstrators, many of whom had covered their faces with the white plastic masks were the most ordinary passers-by, if, perhaps, not mask, red helmet (a symbol of protection from violence) and red umbrellas. By the way, not all of them were workers in the sex industry campaign came to support the defenders, who out of solidarity, also put on masks and helmets.
That is the exact number of sex workers who came to the March, was unable to name even the organizers. “They came a lot, from different regions and even other countries. But I’m not keeping track. I think that more than a few dozen. There are people who came later and did not have time to wear masks. They are all around us — it is ordinary men and women who did not stand out” — said the leader of the movement for the rights of sex workers, a lawyer-Ukrainian League “Legalayf” Yulia Dorokhova.
In the hands of activists were copies of the Code of Ukraine about administrative violations, condoms, self-made posters “My work is my choice”, “to Punish political prostitution”, “Taxes instead of fines.” Rake Paul Rocks the demonstrators strung the leaves with quotes of Ukrainian politicians, who spoke “for” the legalization of prostitution in Ukraine. “We came out to assert the rights of sex workers and demand the decriminalization of prostitution — said Pavlo Skala. — We are talking about those today and tomorrow, and every day provide these services. Unfortunately, these services are not taxed, and corrupt officials put the money [bribes from sex workers] in his pocket. And then we see an electronic Declaration, in which millions of cache”.
According to him, those progressive policies and, in particular, people’s deputies who have already spoken in support of the abolition of administrative liability and the legalization of prostitution would support a bill that activists put underneath your signatures, register and vote for it in Parliament. Looking forward to it more than 80 thousand sex workers, who work in Ukraine (11 thousand of them — in Kiev). They are all willing to pay taxes instead of fines.
One of them is Igor. Tall, dark-haired guy without the mask, drew attention to UNIAN that persuaded another participant shares her mask off. “Why to hide, let the whole Ukraine sees…” — says the young man. Igor says that he sees no reason to hide the face, but understand those who do that. “Not all sex workers want to know about them, as not all homosexuals or transgender people say this is all because of discrimination in society,” he says.
According to Igor, the motivation to go to work in the sex industry are also at everyone. Some of this is due to the financial situation, but for many, it is just this kind of activity that suits them: “It is as if to ask: why are you a journalist or why you have a cat”. The young man is convinced that decriminalization works in the sex industry will help to change the attitudes of law enforcement towards sex workers.
Because today the security forces are too often subject sex workers to violence: the financial plan — writing out fines in the physical — getting services for free. “It turns out that benefit to law enforcement and pimps and sex workers remain unprotected,” — he said. Another plus decriminalization of this sphere of services will allow sex workers to have the legal right to health. “We also talk about the fact that sex workers could provide quality services. For example, in developed countries, in those places where there are sex workers, totally free condoms, lube, lubes,” he explains.
Girl Varvara, which Igor was persuaded to open the face, says that he removed the mask, “to show that we are people, not mannequins or dolls.” “We have rights, emotions, we want to be treated as well as with the others,” she says. Like other participants, she came to the March to demand the abolition of fines. But the question is, did she pay the fine, refuses to answer. “In many countries legalize drugs. Everybody’s busy with sex, someone buys, just like drugs. Only the drug kills the person, and the sex — no,” she adds.
Legalization of sex work — from collective security to society
“Legalization is not a question of morality, and question the safety of the people who made the decision to earn money. Safety is that this will happen in the legal field, people who are socially protected health and security agencies, their health and the health of their clients will be under control. We want it was an open, civilized and safe process, so we support these people,” told UNIAN, the head of “all-Ukrainian network of people living with HIV/AIDS” Dmytro Sherembey.
According to him, legalization of such services leads to the following simple results: a society protected by the law of Ukraine in the activities that will be legally, and people that will engage in this activity, too, will be protected. “It is, in fact, collective security. European countries (sex services is legal in the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Norway, France, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Hungary, Austria, UK, Italy, Switzerland, — the UNIAN) went on this way, based on common sense. Prostitution is is a fact. So the only question is whether we want to control it”, he said.
“If Ukraine got sex, you probably need to accept that there are sex work, connected with this”, — said Pavlo Skala. It should be noted that at the legislative level the issue of normalization of sex work was raised in Ukraine in 2015. Then in the Verkhovna Rada the people’s Deputy group “people’s Will” Andrey Nemirovsky was registered the draft law “On regulation of activity of prostitution and sex establishments”.
Just a few weeks after registration, the MP said that he made the document only in order to draw attention to the problem. “For Ukraine, prostitution and pimping, “protected” by law enforcement officers, hundreds of Ukrainian girls are taken abroad, and law enforcement turning a blind eye to it. The introduction of this bill was provocative. But this is my conscious position to bring this shameful phenomenon to the attention of the society and to start a broad discussion in the corridors about the need to strengthen the fight against human trafficking, pimping, HIV infection and other negative phenomena that accompany prostitution,” he said.
However, less than a month, the bill was withdrawn by Nemirovsky. Today in the Verkhovna Rada no one was the bill relating to the sex industry. Activists of the March emphasize that this is very unfair to 80 thousand sex workers in Ukraine.
In this regard, the protesters tried to pass his version of the bill to the Parliament, the Cabinet and AP. But, as the deputies appointed himself a two-week “vacations” under the guise of supposedly work in the districts, the Parliament met the demonstrators blank. The Cabinet of Ministers to sex workers and sympathizers was a representative of the Department of information and public relations of the Cabinet of Ministers Mikhail Shevchenko, who promised that the proposals of the activists will be taken into consideration. The AP also picked up a copy of the bill.
Now it remains to be seen whether the representatives of Ukrainian politics this document into account and will you give him a stroke. However, if you do not accept and will not allow the protesters in support of the decriminalization and legalization of the sex industry in Ukraine is already up to powerful people “punishment”: “the deputies use our services, and don’t want to legalize then do not use, it will be true.”